NYT: Trump Instructed Top White House Attorney To Stop Attorney General Sessions From Recusing Himself In Russian Probe

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions

A New York Times story on Thursday evening reports that in March U.S. President Donald J. Trump gave instructions to White House Counsel Don McGhan II to stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the inquiry about whether President Trump’s associates had helped a Russian effort to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

During Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing to become America’s head attorney general (AG) in 2017, he failed to disclose about his earlier contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the 2016 presidential campaign and received public criticism about his lack of transparency concerning his past meetings with the Russian diplomat who had close ties to the Kremlin in Moscow.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that top level Russian leaders in the Kremlin played a major role with meddling efforts during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

On March 2nd Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement following his meeting with Department ethics officials in which he declared that he is recusing himself from any investigations concerning the 2016 presidential election.

“I have decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way to the campaigns for President of the United States” Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated on March 2nd.

The New York Times story on Thursday evening reports that as pressure was building for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step aside because of his failure to disclose about his earlier contacts with Russian Ambassador Kislyak, White House Special Counsel Don McGhan II carried out the president’s orders and lobbied Attorney General Sessions to remain in charge of the Russian meddling inquiry, according to two people with knowledge of the episode who told the New York Times.

White House Counsel Don McGhan II was unsuccessful and President Trump reportedly became angry in front of White House officials.

President Trump said that he needed his attorney general to protect and safeguard him in the same way that he believed Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, had done for his brother John Kennedy and Attorney General Eric Holder had done for Barack Obama.

The lobbying of Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the top White House attorney is one of the latest newly unreported episodes that Special Counsel Robert Mueller of the Justice Department has discovered as he investigates whether President Trump obstructed justice during the FBI’s Russian inquiry.

FBI Director James Comey told a Senate panel in June that President Trump demanded that he pledge his loyalty to him during a private closed door meeting from the Oval Office on February 14th.

According a personal memo written by FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 in which he documented his private closed door meeting with President Trump from the Oval Office on February 14th, he stated that President Trump had asked him to end the FBI investigation of his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

Comey’s memo has raised questions about whether President Trump was giving a directive to a FBI Director involving a federal investigation and was obstructing justice.

President Trump tweeted that he fired his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because he knew he lied to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI over his contacts with Russians during the 2016 presidential election season.

President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017 and statements from President Trump and the White House indicate that it was due to the Russian investigation.

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Johnathan Schweitzer




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